Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Craft tutorial: wine cork key chain

This is a great quick project that takes 30 minutes or less, and turns out beautiful!

Here's what you'll need:
-wine cork
-2-6 beads of your choice
-16 gauge aluminum wire (about 8 inches)
-key chain ring
-upholstery needle

Step One:
Take your wine cork, and carefully stab the upholstery needle through it. All the way. This is a kind of slow process. But patience will win the day. Once you get the needle all the way through, use the needle and widen the hole a little bit, as the needle is narrower than the wire.

Step Two:
Use the pliers to remove the needle from the cork. (Mine tended to get stuck there) Now, take your wire, which you've cut with your scissors, and string it equally through the cork. I have found, actually, that the imitation corks seem to work better for this, by the way.

Step Three:
Once the cork is strung, pick out the beads you want to use.  On one end, (the end that will NOT have the ring on it) once you have the beads on, use your pliers to bend the wire and then use the scissors to cut off the end.

Step Four:
String beads on the other end. Once the beads are on, wind the end around the key ring using the pliers. Snip off the end.

Step Five:
All done! Attach to keys and off you go!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

it's chilly out...

and it should be, it's almost the end of September already! Amazing how this month has seemed to absolutely fly by, isn't it? Things have been absolutely ridiculously busy, as usual, but I'm hoping to get a little time to go for a walk in a park soon. The leaves are changing, and I'd love to get to see some of the trees all lit up for their yearly finale, colors ablaze, before winter sets in and they, unlike the rest of us, get to hide and rest until it gets warm again.

It really has been a good month. School started, and although I wasn't excited for that, I soon settled back into the routine of it, and it is going well. I spend way too many hours in the costume shop- I even got a special present from the designer of the first show- like the two full time faculty members got. I counted it up- I spend 33 hours a week in the costume shop. Oy.

We're also coming up on my one-month anniversary with the new Boy. So far so good- I cannot for the life of me figure out why he is so nice to me, but I'm not complaining, either.

And lastly, but perhaps most importantly, my sister came to visit. Trying to explain that relationship is a whole series of posts, but to suffice, Sissy is my other half. We also tend to call each other "wifey" quite a bit, and she is truly one of my life partners. I am so fortunate that we have found each other, and it is always wonderful when she is here. She leaves in a week- but we're enjoying the time together.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

balm for sore nerves

Sometimes, my hands shake. I don't know why, or what triggers it, or what causes them in the first place. But sometimes, my hands shake so badly that I have to stop what I am doing and wait for the tremors to pass. There are a few things that help- physical pressure, especially from another person, seems to be the best, followed by deep breaths and clenching and un-clenching my fists. Sometimes, albeit rarely, I simply let the tremors take over until they pass.

The other night, I was shaking so badly I had to sit through a green light and wait for them to pass. I was alone, in my car, and I couldn't hold the steering wheel tightly enough to turn. It was terrifying.

Eventually the tremors passed, and I drove myself home, climbed into my bed, and slept.

It occurred to me shortly thereafter, that my hands are a physical manifestation of what we all do to our bodies. We strain our nerves until they break. We push ourselves until we are frazzled enough that we just. Can't. TAKE IT ANYMORE!

Our poor nerves. Our poor minds. We have to find the balm for our poor shaking minds. What is it that comforts your frazzled brain like someone taking hold of my hand? Is it coffee with a friend? Is it a nap? Is it taking a walk, or reading a book? Find it. Find it before it is you shaking uncontrollably at three in the morning, waiting to drive through the green light so you can get yourself home.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

90 day challenge: check in 1

hey all!

It's been just over a week since I started my 90  day challenge, and so, here I am, checking in with all of you about it!

I had a great week food-wise. I ate really pretty healthily. There were some mishaps along the way, of course, but for the most part, it was a good week!

Now... exercise-wise, I did not do well at all. I rode my bike to and from school two days this week, so I did get about 80 minutes of cardio in. But I didn't do a single minute of "toning exercises". You heard me. Not one minute.

Here's my problem with them. I hate crunches. I really do. I need an extra motivator to get down on the floor and do those exercises! Anyone have any ideas? Because I'm fresh out.

However, in spite of that, I'm feeling really good about the challenge. I feel really healthy, and full, and pleased with myself. I've made two different (and delicious!!) breakfast smoothies, packed healthy lunches and eaten healthy dinners. I'm having the most difficulty with the dinners- it's hard for me to plan in advance, and by the time I get home from work, I am HUNGRY.

But that's how my first 8 days went- how were yours?

And here are the recipes for my smoothies- enjoy!

Weight loss Frappucino Smoothie:

1 scoop slimfast meal powder
1 serving instant iced coffee
1 1/2 cups of milk
2(ish) cups iced cubes

Blend until smooth. This keeps me full for at least four hours, and tastes like a $4- and diet ruining- coffeehouse drink!

Mango-Pineapple-Peach smoothie

1 fresh peach, peeled and chopped
1 single serve pineapple cup
1 1/2 cups frozen mango pieces
1 cup(ish) ice cubes
blend until smooth (put the ice and mango on the bottom!)

This is a VERY tasty, healthy, fruity drink! Not quite as filling, but absolutely delicious!!

Friday, September 9, 2011

using the right tools

The other night, I was sewing. I was sewing along, when the machine went "cuh-LUNK!"


So I take the fabric out of the machine, and the whole bottom piece is a disaster- the stitches  are at the wrong tension, there are a million extra threads.... oh boy. I cut the threads from the machine, and reloaded it and tried again: same nasty looking seam!!

Finally, I tried a new spool of thread, and it worked like a dream. The joy of higher quality materials!

We have to use the right tools. We have to make sure we take the compassion or kindness tools off the shelf and use them, and keep them in working order.

We have to know when the compassion tool will go the furthest, or when dedication is required. Likewise, we have to know when we need a day off, or to bury our faces and scream.

Use the right tools, and you'll save so much heartache!

Monday, September 5, 2011

tomorrow's the day!

Tomorrow is my last first day of school. I'd love to wax emotional and regale you with stories from my childhood, or talk about how much I've enjoyed college, or how much I think I will miss it eventually. But I don't believe in lying. So I won't.

As I head into my last first day of school, I'm a bit disappointed at how detached I feel from it. My boyfriend was asking me if I was excited (he is).. and the truth is, I'm not. Calm. Like it is nothing new. But not excited. Here are a few things I am excited about though!

I'm officially moved into my apartment! That's right, I'm snuggled in my bed as I type! The room is looking very good- not perfect yet, but very good!

I'm also really excited about riding my bike to class tomorrow. I got a basket for it tonight and it looks so CUTE!

The pillow for my papasan chair is coming along nicely. Still needs a good amount of stuffing, but we are getting very close.

My sister comes to visit in 12 days! That's VERY exciting!

I get to go to work tomorrow and see my grandmother- both blessings in my life.

I was getting clothes out tonight, and my size ten jeans are fitting GREAT! *happy pants dance*

So there. I'm not excited about school necessarily. But I am excited about parts of what that means. I like my routines, and I like the order that school brings to me.

So here's to one last year of school- and to living it more simply!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

when it is time for a change

If you're like me, you love your routines. You derive real pleasure from schedules, known quantities, and a neat calendar. And not only that, but when life gives a heave and comes down in a new direction, it makes you (read me) want to curl up in a little tiny armored ball and not come out until things look right again.

Oh, if only it were that easy!

I don't do change. It is difficult for me to accept it, hard to figure out it's place in my busy life. Daunting to adjust how I do things around something I wasn't prepared for in the first place. This is why I don't like surprises. I'm not good at them, I don't know how to react.

But there are times when all of a sudden, change is coming at you, for better or worse, and all you can do is decide whether to curl up like a pillbug and drown, or ride the wave. My natural instinct in this case is to be the pillbug. But I am learning to surf. Metaphorically. There's nowhere to surf in Ohio.

Anyway, while we've all been preparing for my 90 Day Challenge, there's been a little mini-earthquake happening in my life. The biggest, most significant change is that I recently became a girlfriend. Which means I have a boyfriend, which is definitely a change! On top of that, we sent my brother back to school this week, I am continuing to move, and I seem to have developed some weird allergies. All of that makes my poor little pillbug self really uncomfortable.

But it got me thinking. Sometimes, our lives feel really stagnant. Like we're trapped in who we are, trapped in the comforting cocoon of our routines. Like a Hamster running on a wheel, watching its reflection, and never moving. Stuck.

That's the way my life has been- swampy, a dead water source. I've been very comfortable with it, but that's because it has been very safe.  And when we get to a certain point with that, Life has a way of throwing something new in to teach us to adapt to it. Of shaking us awake, with a new job, a new boyfriend, or, if we're less lucky, a car accident, an unexpected death, or a medical issue.

Is it time for a change in your life? Time to do something just a little bit different? Just foreign enough to make you a little uncomfortable? Maybe you take a different route to work, or try a different brand of coffee. Maybe you wear that sweater that you bought on a whim but can't figure out now. Do something to change it up.
You'll thank yourself later.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

90 day challenge prep: part 6

Tomorrow is the day! Everyone ready? Fridges stocked with healthy food? Exercise stuff ready? Goals made?

yah, me either. I'm stil working on my paperchains- and just think: I'll get to tear a couple off right away!

Here's why this 90 day plan will work for me, and why thousands of diets fail. It is also, consequently, the topic of this final prep post before I return to more of my normal programming.

Today, we're talking about the Power of Forgiveness.

Now, this is a great topic in more than one area of our lives, and I may revisit it on occasion. But for now, we'll leave it to things that pertain to our 90 day challenge.

Here's the thing: we're human. We're going to screw up, eat Oreos, want ice cream,  take days off from our workouts. The important thing to me is that I don't let that stop me. Yes, when I do things like that that I regret, I'm a little disappointed, but I don't let it wreck my whole fitness challenge!

I say, well, you could have made a better choice there... so try again tomorrow. This diet is not an ultimatum. It is not an all-or-nothing. It is a daily re-commitment to fitness.

And when we make mistakes, we must forgive them, not let ourselves give up! If we can forgive our mistakes, it makes it that much easier to go back to the gym the next day!

Alright, here we go...

The 90 day challenge is up and running! Good luck, if you're following along with me!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

90 day challenge prep: part 5

Today, we're planning out our fitness routines! I know, I said it was a post on forgiveness, but that is TOMORROW (I promise). So... deal, lol.

That being said, working out. The all-important calorie burning! Working those muscles, and getting that heart rate up!

So, because this is MY blog, here's about me:
I lead a very active lifestyle. I walk a lot, and I'm on my feet a lot. I also need to focus more on toning up my muscle mass then necessarily losing weight. Lastly, I have very weak knees, which severely limits the amount and type of exercise I can do. I'm also, as I have mentioned, very strong for my size and build, and in the middle of my fitness journey. Please adjust anything you do for yourself to your body, and work at your own pace!

ok, that being said, here's what I'm going to try for, work out wise:

30 minutes of toning exercise or a "focused cardio" session (30 mins or more) every day.
I'm aiming for three weekly cardio sessions, and four toning days, but I'm flexible.

Ideas for Focused Cardio:
- swimming laps. One of my FAVORITES- an all over work out
-bike riding
-Yoga (although this is BARELY a work out for me)

Why the phrase "Focused Cardio"? 
Like I said, I'm very active. It becomes very easy for me to say "well, I walked across campus, that's a work out!" Or "I moved boxes all day, that counts" I need to up my calorie burning, and to do that, I need to devote time to working out. So, I need to be able to commit to spending time working out!

I need to work primarily on my ab muscles and arms when I'm toning. My legs are in pretty good shape, from the long years of ballet training. They have pretty decent definition, and they are very strong. My arms, however strong, need to be toned and defined, as do my abs!

Toning Exercises I love:
-backwards crunches (lift your tailbone instead of your shoulders)
-double crunches (do both at once!)
-side to side crunch/bike
-arm curls (use full water bottles instead of buying weights, if you're at home!)
-chair pullups (sit in a chair, arms on either side of your thighs. Lower your body off the chair and back up, by bending your arms!)
-jar exercise (hold your arms out to either side. hold 15 counts. Then 15 counts of a "turning" motion, like opening a peanut butter jar. then 15 of dipping your hands in the peanut butter, followed by 15 of spreading the pb on the wall, then putting the lid back on. Harder than it looks! For an extra challenge, add a SMALL amount of weight!)

So that's that! Those are my goals for working out. Toning everyday with no cardio, and at least 90 minutes a week of "focused cardio"

What are you going to do to get active?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

90 day challenge prep: part 4

I forgot two very important parts of planning food last night! They really are important to weight management- I can't believe I forgot! Anyway, food part two:

Treats and "freebies"

Both are super important to a successful weight loss plan! So I'm gonna list off a few great treats in my plan:

-sugar free jello
-whip cream with fruit
-low cal/fat ice cream (yes, I'll like it... I'm not picky!)
-frozen yogurt

now... freebies! Tomorrow's post is about forgiveness, so I don't want to get too deep into this, but I think it is important to give myself a couple freebies. These are for meals, not for whole days, but they are important! So I'm going to give myself 5 freebie meals. Bad days, nights with friends, my birthday, thanksgiving. Whatever comes up, these are free, guilt free meals!

What are your favorite low-regret treats?